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Google unveils artificial intelligence programme for African startups

Google unveils artificial intelligence programme for African startups

Google says African startups can now apply for its 10-week equity-free accelerator programme.

In a statement on Tuesday, the tech giant said the programme, tagged ‘Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First’, is open for application.

Google said the initiative would support African startups looking to use artificial intelligence to solve local challenges.

“Applications for the 10-week equity-free accelerator are now open, inviting startups up to series A stage based in Africa or building Africa-centric solutions with AI and machine learning,” the statement reads.

“Participants will benefit from access to Google’s AI expertise, and technical resources including up to $350,000 Google Cloud credits, mentorship from seasoned AI professionals, and invaluable networking opportunities.

“This programme recognises the transformative role that AI is playing across the world, innovating industries, and reimagining the realms of possibilities.”

Google said the programme also highlights the significant contributions of African startups in addressing some of the region’s most pressing challenges through the use of AI, adding that the primary aspiration remains to support and “highlight African-driven solutions”.

Commenting on the initiative, Folarin Aiyegbusi, Google’s head of startup ecosystem, Africa, said, the continent’s tech landscape is vibrant and ever-evolving.

He said it was inspiring to see African startups not only harnessing AI to address the continent’s unique challenges but also setting benchmarks for the world.

“‘AI First’ is more than a programme,” Aiyegbusi said.

“It’s a testament to our belief in the vision of these startups, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to realise their full potential.”

Since its inception in 2018, the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa programme has supported 106 startups from 17 countries in the region.

The technology firm said these startups have collectively raised over $263 million in funding and created over 2,800 direct job opportunities in the region.

African countries involved

Google said on the program’s site that “Google for Startups Accelerator Africa accepts applications from startups in Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Solving real-world chalenges

Google also said the “The Accelerator program is sector-agnostic but will only accept applications from startups leveraging Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning from any vertical.

“The AI First program is designed for startups that are building products or services that use artificial intelligence in a transformative way. We are looking for companies with a strong team and a clear vision for how AI can be used to solve real-world challenges.”

When and where to apply

It said interested startups are advised to apply by September 6, 2023 and submit applications, via: http://g.co/acceleratorafrica\


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